What are Pioneers UK’s summer trips like?
Pioneers UK offers two types of summer trip: bespoke trips developed on-demand for pre-formed teams (church groups, uni friends etc.), and pre-planned trips for people looking for a team to join. The trips can range from 3-8 weeks and will place groups of 3-8 people alongside existing Pioneers field teams. Summer teams will learn language and culture, assist with church planting efforts, and grow in their understanding of God, themselves, and His call on their lives.
Why should I go?
Going on a mission trip will change you forever. As you come into contact with people and places you may have only heard of before, your eyes will be opened so that you can truly see the outside world. Before your trip, poverty – both physical and spiritual – may have simply been an idea which you had tried to grasp and understand, but it will become real after the trip. You may still not understand it, but you will be able to begin to grapple with it.
Throughout this trip, your faith will be challenged, and your perspective stretched. It is the hope of Pioneers that you will find a deeper, more fruitful relationship with God through this experience, that you will learn how to pray specifically for the lost of this world, and that you will use this experience to become a spiritual catalyst within your church, family, and social circle, inspiring those around you to care and pray fervently for the mission field.
Furthermore, you will receive a small taste of what full time missionaries do, and how they actively strive to fulfil Christ’s commandment to take the gospel to all nations.
Yet, we also hope this trip burdens you for the lost around you – within your city, school, workplace and country. This trip would be pointless or even damaging if you didn’t take your experience and apply it at home. This is so important. In the words of James, “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror, and after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:22-25).
Christ exhorted His followers to take His message – the word – to “Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” As you go out and then return, ask yourself what your Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth look like. Ask God where He would like you to go and who He would like you to share His Gospel with.
What summer trip opportunities do Pioneers offer?
You can see the pre-planned trips being offered here on our opportunities page. We also work with Pioneers USA to connect people with their Edge summer teams all over the world. There is a possibility that you could join one of these teams, however, keep in mind that because US and UK summer holidays are slightly different, it is likely that you would join the team once they’ve been on the field for a few weeks, and you would stay on for a few weeks after they’ve gone.
If you have a pre-formed group and are simply looking for a place to go and maybe some training and help with logistics, we would love to help prepare and send your group. Please contact the mobilisation team for more information.
When can I go and for how long?
Our summer trips occur annually during the summer holiday, normally within the June to August timeframe. They last anywhere from 3 to 8 weeks, depending upon the trip.
What will be the cost?
The cost of each trip changes every year, but it includes everything EXCEPT flights, vaccinations (or other medical costs such as antimalarials), visas (where applicable), travel to and from the pre-departure training and post-arrival debrief, or any spending money.
In 2017, the average cost was between £1000 and £2000, but in rare cases it can be in the £2500 to £3000 range. These costs are subject to change, based on the fluctuation of overseas travel costs, and the variation in field costs.
Are there group trips?
Yes, all of our trips are group trips. The average team size is 3 to 8.
Can anyone apply?
We are looking for passionate Christ-followers who are continually developing in their relationship with God, are actively involved in a local Christian church or group who will support them in prayer, and are enthusiastic about missions and heartbroken over the lost. It would be advisable if each individual is flexible, but it is important that every applicant desires to work within a team.
Otherwise, we do NOT discriminate. No matter one’s sex, race, age, ethnicity or nationality, anyone who fits the aforementioned criteria can apply.
It must be noted, however, that the Pioneers mission trips can be physically demanding. Physical disability or a medical condition should not prevent you from taking part – Pioneers will attempt to accommodate you. If there is a problem, we will let you know and may suggest an alternative (e.g. another mission trip where medical facilities are more easily accessible).
How do I choose the right trip?
Whilst you are trying to decide, it is best to ask yourself some questions, but you should primarily ask yourself: “Where would God like me to go?” Discovering the answer to this question will require a lot of faithful prayer as you seek God’s heart.
The famous missionary William Carey once said “To know the will of God, we need an open Bible and an open map.” Pioneers already have the map open, since we have specific teams going to specific places. Yet, God may – or may not – be leading you towards those specific teams and locations, so you need to pray: ask God if these locations and, especially, if these people are where and who He wants you to go to. But you must start by praying and seeking God’s direction.
Sometimes God directly places one person or people group, or one culture or nation, upon our hearts, preventing us from having any hesitation or doubt about His plans for us. Other times this does not happen. In these times, consider Paul’s words in Philippians 4: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Either way, Pioneers is limited and only has only a select few trips every year, meaning you may not have a passion or calling to any of these locations. In this case, we will direct you to other organisations who may have trips better suited for you.
It is also wise – and Pioneers requires this – that you seek advice and prayer from family, friends and mentors/pastors who care about you and know you personally. This is vitally important as these people will be those who pray for you and/or support you, if you chose to go on the trip.
Then if you feel God directing you somewhere, research it! See what daily life is like. Who the people are: their beliefs, culture, history and language. Find out what they eat, where they sleep, what they do. As you decide and pray, fully immerse yourself into their world – as much as you can.
How does the application process work?
Before the application process commences, a representative from Pioneers will contact you by phone, during which there will be a short conversation about your passion for mission and spiritual life. After this, you will be asked to complete a formal application and submit references for a pastor, mentor, and friend. All this culminates with a 1-hour Skype interview with our Summer Trip Coordinator. Once everything is cleared, including the DBS background check, we will ask you to sign the Programme Contract and pay the deposit; then, the fundraising can commence.
Finally, we ask all our applicants to faithfully pray throughout the whole process and also to discuss this opportunity with a Christian mentor before making a decision.
Where will I stay and what will I eat?
It depends on each trip. Sometimes you’ll be living in a shared apartment with your teammates, other times you’ll be living more locally, or perhaps a mix of the two. With food, sometimes it will be more traditional, locally styled food, but there will be a good mix of Western food too.
How safe will I be?
You will go through security training, just like all our Pioneers missionaries. But don’t worry: we would not knowingly send a summer team to an unsafe area. We try to stay up-to-date on the news and remain in contact with our team leaders in the area. If we had any misgivings, we would postpone or cancel the trip.
Where does the money go?
All the money you raise goes to your summer trip. We do not take any percentage or cut. There are office costs, as we have staff who are working to get you on the field, but there is no donation to Pioneers. Your funding goes toward your trip.
Who else will be on my team?
Men and women with the same mindset and passion as you! Although they might be from the United Kingdom, we cannot know who will be on your team until it is fully formed. You could possibly be on a team with other nationalities, and you will probably be on a team with people from different backgrounds/heritages who have different ideas. What an incredible opportunity!
What vaccinations will I need?
We advise you to be up-to-date on all your basic vaccinations. These might include – but are not limited to influenza, Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis), Polio, Hepatitis A and B, Pneumococcal, Meningococcal, MMR (measles, mumps, and rubella), and Chickenpox. Other potentially helpful vaccines include Typhoid, Yellow Fever, and Rabies.
Furthermore, there may be vaccinations specific to the context and country where you’ll be based. In this case, we encourage you to talk to your local GP who can recommend which vaccinations to get before traveling. It may also be helpful to look at these sites which have information on the specific country you will be traveling to:
What should I take with me?
We will send you a handbook with information about what to bring, which will be specific to each team.
Will you help as I apply for a visa and passports?
We will point you in the right direction (which is generally towards your embassy), and we will provide advice on what to do. However, we are not in a position to apply for visas or passports for our summer teams.
Will you help with booking flights?
To receive ATOL protection for your flights, flights must be purchased by you, rather than booking through Pioneers. This can be through a travel agency that specialises with charities, or through your preferred travel agent. We will send you details of recommended flights and send you details for paying directly to the travel agency. If you wish to purchase an alternate flight, please check with the summer trip coordinator to confirm suitability prior to purchase.
What about travel insurance?
Pioneers have a group policy through SALT Insurance which is one option. If you are interested, you will need to complete a form to be submitted to SALT, in which you must disclose any pre-existing medical conditions. You may also choose your own medical/travel insurance, that suits your needs. Please ensure that it includes Medical & Emergency Repatriation cover.
Will I get training and support?
Once you have been accepted, you will receive a missions pack. In the pack, there will be:
- Required readings (i.e. The 3D Gospel and God’s Heart for the Nations). These will help prepare you both culturally and theologically as you prepare for your summer trip.
- A contract (which you will need to sign), with a form for the deposit amount.
- A timeline with required tasks.
- Other forms/documents (i.e. medical forms, vaccinations, etc.).
There will also be an orientation which will take place before the trip. The orientation will focus on cultural sensitivity, team building, conflict management, etc.
Upon arrival, summer teams will receive one final day of training, which will take place with the field team leaders. This training is more specialised and will change depending on the team’s goals, needs, etc.
If needed, there will always be the option of further support whilst on the programme, either directly through your team leader or through the Summer Trip Coordinator.
Once you return to the UK, you will be debriefed. In the debrief, we will discuss important topics like reverse culture shock, but will also concentrate on unpacking the trip so that you can get the most out of the experience.
How do I pay for my placement?
You could pay for your placement directly from your savings, but most summer trip participants talk to their family and friends who support them both financially, emotionally and spiritually as they go out.
What if the team I am on is cancelled?
If a team is cancelled due to reasons on the mission field, you will be placed on another team of your choice (based on availability). The estimated costs include orientation and debrief, insurance, and in-country costs. Some costs, which are outside of our control, may fluctuate. Costs that are higher than estimated will not be passed on to the team member, unless significantly higher. Pioneers does not profit financially from short term mission trips – in fact, we subsidise them – as it is our desire to mentor people towards mission.
In the case that the individual does not wish to wish join another trip, there are several options available. See below.*
First, you could simply donate it to either Pioneers, another summer trip participant who is struggling with raising enough finances, or the field team. Second, we could put your money on hold, and you could join another Pioneers trip the following year – using the money previously raised. Third, we could return the money to those who donated it, as a last resort. Because it has been pledged to Pioneers, we cannot return the money to the participant themselves, but we could return it to those who gifted it. However, if the participant had self-funded all or part of their trip, this would – naturally – be returned to them.
N.B. Pioneers will not do anything with the funds you’ve raised until we’ve discussed the matter with you and know your decision.
What happens if I raise more than the cost of the placement?*
There are several options, but you decide. See Money Matters above.*
What happens if I have to withdraw from the placement?*
If you should choose to withdraw from the placement, the monies you have raised can be attended to in several different ways. See Money Matters above.*
What if my flight is delayed?
If you are delayed at the outward or homeward points of departure you will be covered by our travel insurance for the reasonable additional costs of travel, accommodation and subsistence necessarily incurred less any amount recoverable elsewhere if an insured person suffers a missed international connection or missed departure during the operative time. Further details will be sent with your insurance documents upon successful acceptance of the booking terms and conditions.
What happens once I get back to the UK?
Sometimes coming home from a short term mission programme can be as hard, if not harder, than initially leaving. You’ll be saying goodbye to friends, returning to everyday life and trying to cope in a world where things seem different: friends and family may not understand your experience or how you’ve changed, the purpose that transfused everyday fades, and the voice of God – which was very strong while overseas – can feel deafeningly quiet.
Because of this, Pioneers emphasises having a debrief upon your return. It will take place shortly after your arrival and will focus on re-entry. We’ll discuss the subject of reverse culture shock: how to prepare for it, cope with it and learn from it. Furthermore, we also want you to be healthy as you return to your families and friends, so we will spend time reflecting on your experience and visualise what your next steps could be (i.e. what could future involvements in missions look like).
This will be provided for you at the debrief.
Maybe Pioneers is not right for me. What should I do?
If for any reason Pioneers doesn’t feel right for you or the requirements don’t match you, then please take a look at a couple of other useful short term mission websites, which you might find helpful. Mission Direct have a variety of short term trips so if we don’t match what you’re looking for then this site could be beneficial to you.
For further helpful resources and other mission agencies, please check our resources page.